Sweet Williams have pretty fringed flowers that grow in a cluster on top of a long stalk. Dianthus Barbatus is a lovely variety of the dianthus species.
Dianthus Barbatus – is a tender perennial. It is often treated as a Biennial with leaves the first year and flowers the second before dying off.
My Dianthus Barbatus has flowered for two years here in NC with ease.
These growing tips will help you to get it going in your garden.
Carnations and pinks have a strong fragrance with a spicy scent. Sweet William, however, bears only a mild fragrance, and some varieties have no scent at all.
Planting guide for Dianthus Barbatus
To grow Dianthus Barbatus, follow these tips:
Size and cold hardiness
Dianthus will reach a size of 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide. Be sure to keep this in mind when your are planting. It is a moderate grower and fairly low maintenance
It is cold hardy in zones 3 to 9. No need to dig it up before the cold weather hits.
Sunlight and watering needs for dianthus Barbados
Plant dianthus in a spot that gets part sun to full sin.
Water evenly. The plant doesn’t like to get really dry.
Dianthus flowers appear in mid summer. The flowers are edible with a mild flavor and can be used as a garnish.
If it is planted from seed after the last frost, it will flower in the second year. If it is planted in flats before the last frost and then transplanted it may flower in the first year.
Propagation of dianthus Barbados
Propagate dianthus Barbados by seed, cuttings, or division. Like many plants grown from seed, the cultivars will not breed true.
Uses for dianthus
The leaves of this variety of dianthus are fragrant and the plant attracts butterflies and bees. This lovely variety is one that I got from the farmer’s market.
It has a huge 3 inch flower head and is very different in appearance than the lower growing pinks that are more commonly grown.
Varieties of Dianthus
Dianthus is native to the mountains of Europe and there are over 300 species of the plant. The common names are pinks, Sweet William and carnations.
Generally speaking, pinks grow fairly low to the ground, and bloom profusely. They have an aroma like cloves. Most pinks are grown as perennials.
Sweet William is a biennial, which is sown one year and blooms the next. Sweet William often self-seeds, though the small baby plants do not always stay true to the parent.
The ground cover pinks usually grow to about 1 foot tall, but Sweet William is an upright specimen that will grow to 24 inches or more.
Here are some more photos of Dianthus with the smaller head size. They give a wonderful idea of the variety of colors available.
Growing conditions are similar to the directions above, except for the size, of course. Photos are courtesy of American Meadows.
Dianthus Purple Picotee. Sweet fragrance all summer long. Nice in containers.
Dianthus Starburst. Short foliage. Perfect for a border or container.
Dianthus Indian Carpet. This mix creates a colorful carpet of unique white, pink, and red that bloom from spring into summer.
Lovely fragrance and perfect for the front of a garden bed.
Dianthus Red – The height is only 8 inches tall so it’s perfect for containers.
The plant blooms all summer long. The deep red color is a great contrast to the dark green foliage.